Hi Toxophilite (now there's a question begging to be asked) I'm also new to this forum. Re replies and answers on this forum things are relatively nonexistant. I might check once a month at the best. Don't know why when it seems England and old gaffers go hand n hand.
I will venture to ask for photos of your boat and rig configuration.
I have a 1904 gaffer and set the topsail only when I have enough hands onboard or unless it's really only going to max out at 10 knots and I've got a decent milage to cover in a favourable breeze if I'm with my wife.
Just for the pure magic of the moment a topsail is the icing on the cake. Downwind or reaching it's a winner on all aspects.
My topsail has a topsail yard of 7.5m and a jack yard of 4.5m so is a handfull to set in a breeze but if it's not too breezy not too hard to handle.